Category Archives: hair

The Runaway Mama’s Guide To Having A Kid With “Cool” Hair

“Your hair looks great today!” a mom said to me at school pickup.

“Thanks,” I said. And then I add, “I showered,” because self-depreciation comes fast and easy.

“Your kids have such cool hair,” a mom said to me on the playground.

“Thanks,” I said. And then I paused because was she talking about my unkempt, scruffy, and desperate-for-clippers kids?

“The secret is infrequent showers and no haircuts,” I said because self-depreciation comes fast and easy it’s the truth, which got me thinking. Maybe I actually know a thing or two about having kids with “cool” (i.e. wild) hair.

Here’s my advice to any moms looking to up their kids’ hair game.

Say YES. So, your kid wants a mohawk. Or, blue hair. Or, pink hair. Or, blue and pink hair! There are so many reasons to say no our kids. Don’t let their hairstyle be one of them. Unless your kid asks for a perm. Then, you have permission to say “no” with gusto.

Embrace apathy. Schedule haircuts only as often as you go to the dentist, change your smoke detector batteries, and/or change the clocks (i.e. no more than twice a year). The more time between cuts, the cooler the hair.

Make it hard. If your kid really wants purple (or pink or green…) hair, describe the 27 billion-step process involved in cutting, bleaching, and coloring hair. Don’t miss a single detail, and be sure to include a vivid description of the life-depleting waiting that happens in between each step, the spotty WiFi in the salon, and the swim cap that will be required to keep chlorine from washing out the vibrant and expensive AF color over the summer. If your kid still wants to do it, see #1.

Don’t overthink hygiene. Red carpet worthy bed head happens when your kid goes to sleep with wet hair or when your kid goes to sleep with hair that hasn’t been washed in days. Either way, evidence of shampoo use is purely circumstantial. I don’t know what my tweenaged son is doing in the shower besides practicing Fortnite dances, and I’m okay with that. As long as I can’t smell him across the room, we’re good.

Keep your hands to yourself. No matter how badly you want to run a comb or your fingers through your kid’s insane mop each morning, don’t do it. Look for your cold cup of coffee instead.

Listen. Not to the people who question your parenting chops because you said “yes” to blue (or fill in the blank) hair, but to the people who think you’re awesome for letting your kid express himself, explore himself, and be himself.

Be patient. The hot mess on your kid’s head will probably grow on you, at which point you might get a few streak of color in your hair, which will immediately prompt your kid to beg for a buzz cut because, “Mom, you are so embarrassing!”

If you enjoyed these tips, you might also like The Runaway Mama’s Guide to Preventing Lice and The Runaway Mama’s Guide to Having the Best Summer Ever With Your Kids.

Happy reading!



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Growing Pains


“Am I going to have hair on my butt when I grow up?”

This is a question I recently fielded from Dylan sandwiched between “Can I have popcorn?” and “Why do I have to take a bath?”

On one hand, it was a silly question from a silly kid. On the other hand, it was an inquiry about one of several ways his body is going to (gulp) change as gets older.

This is what I refer to as the deep end of parenting. It’s where we sink or swim (or scream for help). New mothers should receive sashes with instructions on how to earn patches for accomplishments like getting a diaper bag packed and a newborn baby out of the house in less than an hour, cleaning a poop-up-the-back explosion in the back of a car, surviving pacifier weaning, attending a Fresh Beat Band concert, keeping a four-year-old distracted while changing a tampon in a public bathroom stall at the airport (not that that happened to me or anything), convincing a stubborn kid to poop in the toilet, making school lunches with the flu, and answering questions like “Where is your penis, Mommy?” or “Why do we eat eggs if there are baby chicks inside?”

Admitting to my son that he might have hair on his butt when he grows up felt like confessing that his heart will eventually be broken, there is evil in the world, and not everyone becomes a dot-com billionaire by playing Minecraft. I didn’t want to disappoint him any more than I wanted to imagine him all grown up and hairy.

“Well,” I stumbled, “Everyone grows hair in different places on their bodies when they grow up.”  Ugh.  “Eventually, you’ll have hair under your arms, on your face, on your chest, on your…”

“I don’t want to have hair on my butt!” he interrupted. “I don’t want to grow up!”

I don’t want you to grow up either! Can you please stay eight years old forever? For Pete’s sake! Why must mothers suffer the injustice of imagining their young sons with hair all over their bodies?!

Although he started the conversation, he didn’t want to finish it any more than I did. “Listen, “I said, “You’re still a kid. Don’t worry about it. Let’s finish your homework so you can play, okay?”

As if the prospect of butt hair weren’t painful enough for everyone involved, Riley is having actual growing pains. Not Kirk Cameron “Growing Pains,” but genuine throbbing aches in his legs.

One morning, after a bout of middle-of-the-night pain and sobs that I regrettably slept through, Riley let me have it. “Mommy,” he said pouting with wet eyes, “why didn’t you come when I called out for you?”

(Note to self: Save that guilt for a later date when you have time to truly savor and soak it in, like in 2027 when you’re a depressed, menopausal empty nester.)

Since anything these days can send Riley down a rabbit hole of “I’m not going to school because…you ran out of pancakes or it’s Wednesday or I already know everything (my personal favorite) or because my legs hurt and you didn’t come when I called for you,” it’s important to be supportive and sympathetic, but also to redirect his angst (a difficult patch to earn).

Enter Daddy. He scooped Riley off the floor, and said, “Oh, Riley, you’re having growing pains! You’re growing up!” Apparently, growing pains are to be celebrated like soccer goals and good report cards. And then, “Let me look in your mouth. Are your front teeth coming in? Is that a tooth I see? Oh wow!”

I took a peek in his mouth. No teeth. Not yet, anyway. Riley had his front teeth pulled when he was four as a result of an unfortunate face plant. I mourned the premature loss of his baby teeth when the extraction happened, but funny enough, the empty space in his mouth has come to represent his everlasting role as my squishy little boy. He turns six in a month, but as long as he has that gap, he’ll never grow up. (No sir! Not him! So there!)

On the precarious drive to school that morning, I initiated a game where whatever the boys said, I repeated in song. If Riley said, “banana idiot butt,” I sang, “banana idiot butt!” in my best worst operatic voice. If he said, “whale shark poopy train,” I sang, “whale shark poopy train!”

This foolish sing-song game went on and on as we waited in the turn lane for traffic to pass so we could make a left into the school parking lot. While we sat, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw both of my boys in a fit of giggles. Dylan, at age eight and on the cusp of rolling his eyes at such ridiculousness from his mother (even with the normally forbidden potty talk), couldn’t help but laugh despite his fear of things, including but not limited to, butt hair. Riley, at age five, laughed so hard that he gave himself the hiccups. Looking at his huge, toothless grin made me want to sit in that turn lane and sing “banana idiot butt” forever because, in that moment, there were no growing pains to be found.

But I didn’t. I turned left when the traffic cleared, entered the carpool line, and let my boys climb out of the car and disappear into school (another patch for my sash).


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